Saint Louis University Law Journal
The process of education, teaching, and learning has ideally been conceived of as a transformative endeavor. Students learn a new way of thinking and asking questions, rather than memorizing or assimilating material verbatim by rote. As curiosity and inquisitiveness are to be valued, students change their mode of analysis and in so doing, the way that they perceive the world. While this is the typical meaning of “transformative” learning, what if learning were actually transformative? In other words, what if what you were learning or the process of learning turned you into someone else (at least for the course of a lesson)? The lesson is one that you can perform in your class; it is one that I used in my employment discrimination seminar.
Let’s engage in a thought experiment. What if, without pain or expense, you could immediately change your height, your weight, your eye color, or your skin color? How would being able to choose these aspects of your physical identity change the way that you thought about the world? Luckily, with the advent of virtual worlds and avatars, we are now in a position to explore these issues. Additionally, we can use virtual world technologies in order to help our students understand the issues in the Employment Discrimination course at a much deeper level than might otherwise have been possible. My academic focus has recently been on “virtual work”—how the labor and employment law fields are changing due to advances in technology and communication. In this Article I apply these virtual work concepts and ideas to employment discrimination pedagogy.